The Ghostmaker had the appearance of a ringleader of a circus called the Joshua Joy Travelling Show. He and the rest of the Night Travellers became trapped on film when the travelling shows died off following the spread of film and cinema. When the Electro re-opened in the 21st century and a piece of film with the Night Travellers on was played, the Ghostmaker and Pearl escaped. The duo went around Cardiff collecting the life force and "final breaths" of individuals in the area and creating ghosts with them to use as an "audience". The Ghostmaker and Pearl retrieved the rest of the film from Jonathan Penn's workshop and released the rest of the Night Travellers from it by playing it at the Electro; together they believed they owned the world.
When Ianto Jones stole the Ghostmaker's flask containing his victims' breaths, the Ghostmaker followed him from the Electro and took the flask back. When Jack Harkness then filmed the Ghostmaker on a film camera, the latter, realising he had lost either way, opened and threw his flask to kill his victims. Jack then exposed the camera's untreated film, destroying the Ghostmaker and the other Night Travellers. However, Jack feared that the Night Travellers could return through other lost rolls of old film that contained them. (TV: From Out of the Rain)